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Called According to Paul: Romans 11:28-29

This is another repost of an old post in the Called According to Paul series. I’m reposting them all, one per week (sort of), so I can link to them in the sidebar under Favorite Posts. An explanation of this series can be found here, and the already reposted pieces are here.

 Here are the verses from Romans 11:

In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (28-29 NET)

What I’m not going to do is explain exactly what these verses mean. I think we can glean at least a couple of things about the way Paul uses the word “call” without explaining exactly what it is Paul is teaching about the Jews here.

  • The call is associated with God’s choice (election). This is a common theme in regards to calling throughout Paul’s writings, so it’s not the first time we’ve seen it.

  • The call is irrevocable. There is certainty or surety in the call.

Is there more? What more can you see about the way Paul uses the word call from these verses?


Sunday's Hymn

The Strife Is O’er

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!


Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

 Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Round the Sphere Again: Our Trinitarian God

The Basics
C. Michael Patton is writing a discipleship book chapter-by-chapter on the Parchment and Pen blog. Here is the chapter introducing our Trinitarian God.

More Advanced
John Starke on why the debate over the filoque clause matters (The Gospel Coalition Blog). Hint: It has to do with the authority of scripture.

[T]he Bible is a reliable source of our knowledge of God, and the language it uses about God gives us insight into who he is. And when the New Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ, not just the Spirit of God, it is telling us something important about how the Person of the Spirit relates to the Person of the Son (Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11). It is Christ who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16). It is Christ who promises and sends the Spirit as the One who now mediates Christ’s active presence in the world. This becomes evidentially clear in the book of Acts, where the Spirit empowers the early Christians to be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), and it is through the Spirit that Christ is with them to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).


Theological Term of the Week

biblical hermeneutics
The art and science of interpreting the Bible.1

  • From scripture: 

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

  • From The Interpretation of Scripture by J. I. Packer:
    Scripture yields two basic principles for its own interpretation. The first is that the proper, natural sense of each passage (i.e., the intended sense of the writer) is to be taken as fundamental; the meaning of texts in their own contexts, and for their original readers, is the necessary starting-point for enquiry into their wider significance. In other words, Scripture statements must be interpreted in the light of the rules of grammar and discourse on the one hand, and of their own place in history on the other. This is what we should expect in the nature of the case, seeing that the biblical books originated as occasional documents addressed to contemporary audiences; and it is exemplified in the New Testament exposition of the Old…
    The second basic principle of interpretation is that Scripture must interpret Scripture; the scope and significance of one passage is to be brought out by relating it to others. Our Lord gave an example of this when he used Gn. ii.24 to show that Moses’ law of divorce was no more than a temporary concession to human hard-heartedness. The Reformers termed this principle the analogy of Scripture; the Westminster Confession states it thus: “The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture, it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” This is so in the nature of the case, since the various inspired books are dealing with complementary aspects of the same subject. The rule means that we must give ourselves in Bible study to following out the unities, cross-references and topical links which Scripture provides.
  • From the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (pdf):
    Article XV

    We affirm the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text.

    We deny the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support.2

    Article XVII

    We affirm the unity, harmony and consistency of Scripture and declare that it is its own best interpreter.

    We deny that Scripture may be interpreted in such a way as to suggest that one passage corrects or militates against another. We deny that later writers of Scripture misinterpreted earlier passages of Scripture when quoting from or referring to them.3

Learn more:

  1. What is Biblical hermeneutics?
  2. D. A. Carson: Must I Learn How to Interpret the Bible?
  3. J. I Packer: The Interpretation of Scripture
  4. J. I. Packer: Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology
  5. Greg Bahnsen: A Reformed Confession Regarding Hermeneutics
  6. Daniel Wallace: The Holy Spirit and Hermeneutics
  7. Ryan Habbena: Ten Lesson Class on Hermeneutics (mp3s, power point slides, and pdf class handouts)
  8. D. A. Carson: Hermeneutics (mp3)

Related terms:

1From Must I Learn How to Interpret the Bible? by D. A. Carson.

2From Norman Geisler’s commentary on this article: 

The literal sense of Scripture is strongly affirmed here. To be sure the English word literal carries some problematic connotations with it. Hence the words normal and grammatical-historical are used to explain what is meant. The literal sense is also designated by the more descriptive title grammatical-historical sense. This means the correct interpretation is the one which discovers the meaning of the text in its grammatical forms and in the historical, cultural context in which the text is expressed.

The Denial warns against attributing to Scripture any meaning not based in a literal understanding, such as mythological or allegorical interpretations. This should not be understood as eliminating typology or designated allegory or other literary forms which include figures of speech (see Articles X, XIII, and XIV).

3From Norman Geisler’s commentary on this article: 

Not only is the Bible always correct in interpreting itself (see Article XVIII), but it is the “best interpreter” of itself.

Another point made here is that comparing Scripture with Scripture is an excellent help to an interpreter. For one passage sheds light on another. Hence the first commentary the interpreter should consult on a passage is what the rest of Scripture may say on that text.

The Denial warns against the assumption that an understanding of one passage can lead the interpreter to reject the teaching of another passage. One passage may help him better comprehend another but it will never contradict another.

This last part of the Denial is particularly directed to those who believe the New Testament writers misinterpret the Old Testament, or that they attribute meaning to an Old Testament text not expressed by the author of that text. While it is acknowledged that there is sometimes a wide range of application for a text, this article affirms that the interpretation of a biblical text by another biblical writer is always within the confines of the meaning of the first text.

Do you have a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.


Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful that I’m going to be a grandma. Yep, sometime in September I’ll have a little granddaughter or grandson to cuddle.

How about you? For what are you thankful?

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.